Sunday, January 28, 2007

As Iraq Unravels...Some Hope of Success?

In the NYT. Iraq has, as almost everyone is finally willing to admit, gone to hell.

But one of the most interesting points in the piece:

For those eager to write off Iraq as lost, one fact bears remembering. A great many Shiites and Kurds, who together make up 80 percent of the population, will tell you that in spite of all the mistakes the Americans have made here, the single act of removing Saddam Hussein was worth it. And the new American plan, despite all the obstacles, may have a chance to work. With an Iraqi colleague, I have been studying a neighborhood in northern Baghdad that has become a dumping ground for bodies. There, after American troops conducted sweeps, the number of corpses dropped by a third in September. The new plan is built around that kind of tactic.

Dunno how seriously to take Tavernise's judgment here, but it's something.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, seems to me the corpses are being dumped somewhere else, not that there are fewer corpses.

I don't know this, but by most accounts the bloodshed is increasing, not decreasing. The civil war, I am afraid, is only beginning.

And I mean this in all seriousness. I think we are each wedded to trajectories that we don't know anything about. You hope for a good outcome, but are suspicious of whether it will happen. I expect a catastrophic outcome, but will certainly cheer at any real improvement in the situation.

In any event, I am convinced this is all going to continue to be horrible and end terribly (if it ends). The fact that you hold out hope is at times uplifting, and at times maddening, but I will confess that I have exactly as much foresight into the future as you do. Which is to say, we are both clinging to our hopes, and in that we are both equally idealistic and equally ignorant.

And if anything seems offensive in that, not intended. Merely trying to point out that my pessimism and your optimism, are, at the end of the day, equally well-informed (which is to say, not all that well).

I really don't think there is any "good" result to be had in Iraq, however. We passed the possibility of any kind of happy outcome a long time ago. Success is now defined in terms of not having the biggest, most violent, and all-encompassing regional (hopefully) war in many many years. I can live with that definition, and we should make sure that we achieve it, but man, that's a long ways away from why we were told we invaded Iraq.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Nothing to be offended about there.

My ignorance is manifest, and I trumpet it at every opportunity.

Currently I'm doing no more than clinging a shred of hope, based on the fact that a few experts still think victory (or, rather, non-total-disaster) is possible.

10:25 AM  

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